Colour has long been associated with branding, especially for luxury brands. Stemming from psychology, colours imbue certain emotional characteristics. As a society, we grow up knowing that blue portrays confidence and that presidential candidates are often seen with blue accented attire on TV. Rich colours like ruby red and royal purple, and of course the glamour of gold and silver, connote a sense of luxury and opulence. Luxury brands and their corresponding colour schemes are often closely associated with these long-established colour profiles. But a new colour has become a universal favourite in the luxury world. That colour is Millennial Pink.
The Prominence of Millennial Pink In The Luxury World
Discussed in length by publications like Bloomberg, The Cut, and The Guardian, this pale blush, understated shade of pink has been written about profusely.
The Color Marketing Group (CMG), a worldwide nonprofit colour-forecasting group seems to have caught onto this trend in 2014, forecasting a deep pink-beige (an early version of Millennial Pink) as the emerging colour in 2016. Some have attributed the popularity of this colour in association with a sense of quiet and softness, like Mark Woodman, the former president of CMG, who calls it a “moment of quietude”. He explains that “there’s so much stress that people think, what can I do in colour and texture that I can take with me that gives me a moment to calm down?” Others have outlined a more serious interpretation, saying that it signifies accessibility, gender fluidity and female empowerment. Millennial Pink redefines the limiting bubblegum, Barbie shade that has been associated with descriptors like “frivolous” and “girly”, and instead, embraces a redefinition of pink that is at once intelligent, sophisticated and androgynous.
Worldwide adoption of a certain “on-trend” colour has certainly happened in the past, but what is surprising is that luxury brands have just as quickly adopted this colour as the rest of the world. From high-end fashion, runways to new boutique luxury brands, Millennial Pink has made a cameo, if not stolen the show in every corner of the luxury world. In fact, earlier this year, Gabriela Hearst, Oscar de la Renta, 3.1 Phillip Lim and Proenza Schouler and Joseph during New York and London fashion weeks all debuted the shade on the runway.
Luxury is embracing a shade that seems to be part of a larger cultural movement. Perhaps this is reflective of a global redefinition of luxury.
Millennial Pink Sentiment Reflects The Redefinition Of Luxury
By 2035, Millennials will have the potential to become the largest spending generation in history. An individualistic and free-thinking generation, they have already started to redefine the term luxury. Luxury no longer refers exclusively to expensive watches, shoes and clothing. It now includes value and quality-driven experiences like craftsmanship, social responsibility, and farm-to-table sustainability. Millennials reject limitations, embrace fluidity, and prefer meaning and experiences to things.
That’s why on-trend, high-end fashion brands like Louis Vuitton and Burberry are power players when it comes to appealing to this demographic. For example, in last year’s spring campaign, Louis Vuitton featured a pink-haired video game character from “Final Fantasy” and used Instagram to tease the final reveal. If Millennial Pink represents a new era of fluidity and understated sophistication, it doesn’t get more Millennial Pink than Burberry’s Acoustic Initiative where the brand has partnered up with Apple Music channel to give a platform for up and coming artists. Burberry also invites the public to share in the traditionally exclusive runway experience with The Burberry Runway playlist that features all of the songs from the latest fashion shows.
There are many theories to explore when it comes to the popularity of Millennial Pink. Even after specialists have predicted its peak, the colour seems to grow in the luxury and non-luxury world. It leads many to believe it is indicative of a larger phenomenon and of the shifting preferences of a new and determined generation. Luxury brands are a part of this movement, embracing both new opportunities to appeal to a younger generation and creating “luxury” through empowering experiences, especially in the digital space.
A Look At The Next Millennial Pink
According to Jane Monnington Boddy, colour director of trend forecasting agency, WGSN, we will see a shift towards “colour with a purpose,” she says. “There is more of an emotional side to it, too, a sense of colour making us feel good, with colour psychology becoming more important and people using colour to express themselves or calm themselves down.” The trends specialist also elaborates that times are uncertain and the world is in a state of flux. People will seek a sense of playfulness and look for the comforting and optimistic childlike qualities that are in primary tones like yellows, greens, reds and sky blue. Yellow is an “energised, playful, feelgood” colour according to Monnington Boddy. She predicts that we will see a mixing of yellows with neon greens and pinks that work to create an electric effect.
Emotive colours can enhance a luxury brand’s visual equity and personality online. According to our very own CEO and author of Shine: Digital Craftsmanship For Modern Luxury Brands, Florine Eppe Beauloye, colours add meaning and context to a luxury brand site, which is especially important since consumers first online impression of your brand is formed within a few seconds upon the first encounter. Understanding trending colours is important in understanding how your luxury brand fits into broader cultural colour trends, however, even more important is truly understanding what colour palette enhances your brand identity and your brand’s interpretation of modern luxury. Once luxury brands experiment and decide on a core colour palette, if relevant, seasonal or trending colours can always make a cameo as an additional statement or accent.